On the Anurag Sagar, and the Sant Mat Connection With the People of the Anurag Sagar, by James Bean
Russell Perkins Writes in His Introduction to the Anurag Sagar Published by Sant Bani Ashram:
“…The alert reader of Swami Ji’s Sar Bachan or the books of Sant Kirpal Singh will notice many points of contact. Tulsi Sahib devoted a major portion of one of his principal books to a detailed commentary on certain aspects of the poem. Baba Jaimal Singh considered it to be the most authoritative book on the teachings of the Masters as the following account by his disciple and successor Sawan Singh shows:
“‘On the fourth day I went to attend Satsang. Baba Ji [Baba Jaimal Singh] was at that time explaining the meaning of Jap Ji Sahib. Well, I started my volley of questions-so much so that the audience got tired and began to feel restless at the large number of questions I had put… Now he wanted to point out the way, but I had read Vedanta. When I read Gurbani, my opinion was different; when I read Gita my opinion was again different, and I was unable to come to a decision. At last I applied for eight days leave to enable me to study the teachings of Baba Ji. He advised me to read Kabir Sahib’s Anurag Sagar. I immediately ordered eight copies of this book from Bombay so that I could also give some to my friends…
“‘After several conferences with Baba Ji, I was thoroughly convinced and received initiation from him on the 15th day of October in 1894.’
“That Baba Sawan Singh continued to hold Anurag Sagar in high regard after he became Master is shown by the following account, written by one of his secretaries:
“‘Hazur [Baba Sawan Singh] one day told Seth Vasdev, whose car is always at Hazur’s disposal, that he should read Kabir Sahib’s Anurag Sagar (The Ocean of Intense Love). Hazur said that without studying it, one cannot fully understand the difference between Kal (the negative power) and Dayal Mat (the Path of the true and Merciful God), nor can one fully grasp the teachings of Sant Mat.’” (Rai Sahib Munshi Ram, “With the Three Masters”, Vol. 2, p.187) (Introduction to, The Ocean of Love: The Anurag Sagar of Kabir, 1982, Published by Sant Bani Ashram, Sanbornton, New Hampshire, USA)
Some Thoughts About the Origin of the Anurag Sagar (Ocean of Love)
Not sure when the Anurag Sagar first is quoted by someone in India, which would give scholars a clue about a date of composition. Knowledge about who wrote it has become lost, perhaps even in the Kabir Panth world itself. And knowledge about the origins and date of composition has never been really known by later Sant Mat paths, and fans of the book reading many centuries later. So, some reading it might just take it all literally, like some do with the Book of Genesis or other older scriptures, one of the many downsides of literalism. The Anurag Sagar is fairly late in composition I suspect, as it sums up the message of Kabir from the perspective of a very well-developed tradition, and one rather informed by other collections of Kabir texts. It reminds me of the 3rd Century C.E. Gnostic Gospel of Pistis Sophia and it’s more developed or complex summing up of the meaning and teachings of Christ, and with the clear influence of other, earlier gospel material.
Anurag Sagar (the Ocean of Love) is but one volume of a larger collection known as the Kabir Sagar (Ocean of Kabir) with many more Q and A dialogue catechisms between Kabir (the Master) and Sant Dharam Das (the disciple). The Dharam Dasi Kabir Panth has a vast amount of this Kabir/Dharam Das literature. I suspect that Dharam Das Kabir Panth Gurus wrote under the pen name “Kabir” (or ‘channeled’ a ‘Gnostic Kabir’ in some cases perhaps?) over many generations. Only recently, with the publication of the Prakash Mani Gita, did Dharamdasi Gurus begin writing under their own name (Hazur Prakash Mani Naam in that case).
One can see something similar going on in the Adi Granth, though not reaching the level of being anonymous. Banis by later Gurus are still often using the phrase “O Nanak”, which makes some compositions seem to the outsider, the uninformed reader not fully acquainted with the text, like they must be composed by Guru Nanak himself, but in reality come from other Gurus later in the Sikh lineage. A better analogy is the example of the Corpus Hermeticum literature of Egypt: books all written, over time, in the name of Hermes Trismegistus. Unknown Hermetic teachers wrote anonymously under the pen name of Hermes.
That’s what I see happening in dozens and scores of books attributed to Kabir — so many books that no one person could possibly have composed them all. The earliest material that may actually date back to the historic Kabir would be the hymns of Kabir preserved in the Adi Granth, and a close second would be the Bijak of Kabir. Anurag Sagar has a very different style or ‘voice’ than those earlier collections of hymns, though one could hold the view that it’s written in the Spirit of Kabir (and the Sants generally). I agree with others that it’s one of the most important of Sant Mat texts. I also enjoy the wisdom of the Brahm Nirupan, the Sakhis and many other Dharam Das/Kabir texts, though I view many of them as being written by other Gurus of the Kabir line (or disciples of those Gurus), over many decades or centuries, and not all writings that represent the compositions of one individual: the historic Kabir.
The Esoteric Santism School of Sant Mat: The Connection Between the People of the Anurag Sagar and Contemporary Sant Mat
Though there is no discernible close adjacency between the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh and that of contemporary Sant Mat suggesting any direct Guru lineage connection between the Sikh Gurus and Sant Tulsi Sahib, scholars such as Professor Mark Juergensmeyer have noticed that there IS compatibility and closeness between the earlier Kabir/Dharam Das line of Gurus, the People of the Anurag Sagar, and contemporary forms of Sant Mat associated with Tulsi Sahib and the Radhasoami movement. This distinct, identifiable, more complex style unique to the Dharamdasi lineage of Satgurus with it’s otherworldly focus on the secrets of the inner regions of consciousness, and the Manichaean struggle between the forces of Kal (the Negative Power) and the God of Love (the Positive Power), described by Juergensmeyer as “Esoteric Santism”, UTTERLY PERMEATES the teachings, mystic poetry and hymns of more recent Sants such as:
1) Sat Saheb;
2) Sat Saheb’s disciple and successor Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar (someone close to the Anurag Sagar School of Sant Mat, considered by some to be a reincarnation of Kabir, and author of the Dariya Sagar);
3) Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras (author of the Ratan Sagar and Padma Sagar); and,
4) Soamiji Maharaj of Agra.
The Five Names — all five of the Panch Naam mantra words — are also at home in this same Kabir line of Gurus. All five of the names appear in the writings of the Sant Dharam Das lineage, and all five have never been proven to be present elsewhere, such as in Sikhism or other Sant lineages of the past. This for me strongly suggests a likely transmission (initiation) of the Five Names between a younger Tulsi Sahib and Sant Dariya Sahib of Bihar, or a Satguru associated with Dariya Sahib, in other words, the Kabir line of Masters, the People of the Anurag Sagar. ////////
There are actually several reasons why I make the case for a direct Guru lineage connection between Sant Tulsi Sahib of Hathras, India and the sangat of Sant Dariya Sahib in my article on the ‘family tree’ of Sant Mat, The Origins of Sant Mat, The Five Names, and the Identity of Tulsi Sahib’s Guru, @ Medium: https://medium.com/sant-mat-meditation-and-spirituality/the-origins-of-sant-mat-the-five-names-and-the-identity-of-tulsi-sahib-s-guru-by-james-bean-eaa516deccf9#.z3lajdf42